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Countdown to Friday Night Lights: C North

By Keith McShea

Who’s who: The seven-team division consists of the Akron Tigers, Cleveland Hill Golden Eagles, JFK Bears, Lackawanna Steelers, Newfane Panthers, Tonawanda Warriors and Wilson Lakemen.

Continue reading "Countdown to Friday Night Lights: C North" »

PrepTalkTV: Preseason interviews with Niagara Falls, Hutch-Tech, W. Seneca East, JFK, Fredonia, Pioneer and Gowanda

PrepTalkTV photographer/videographers John Hickey and Mark Mulville caught up with some more football coaches during their preseason travels.

Check out what they had to say about their teams and divisions below.

Also check out previous posts loaded with videos:

* Olean, Salamanca, Allegany-Limestone, Cassadaga Valley, Cattaraugus/Little Valley, Maple Grove, Portville, Clymer.

* St. Francis, Burgard, Sweet Home, Hamburg, Wilson, South Park and St. Mary's.

* Lancaster, Cheektowaga, Cleveland Hill, Amherst, Maryvale and Lake Shore.

* Our first PrepTalkTV episode of the season from Clarence, Iroquois and St. Joe's.

* Or browse through the videos by clicking "PrepTalkTV" on our video player page.

Niagara Falls coach Don Bass (Class AA North):

Hutch-Tech coach Chris Gelsomino (Class AA North):

West Seneca East coach Jim Maurino (Class A South):

Pioneer coach Jim Duprey (Class B South):

Fredonia coach Bob Ball (Class C South):

JFK coach Mark Ostempowski (Class C South):

Gowanda coach Sean Gabel (Class C North):

Be sure to check back to the PrepTalk blog for more videos as we continue to gear up for the 2011 season.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

Friday Night Live with PrepTalkTV: Jamestown wins at Lancaster, 69-61

No city games today, so PrepTalkTV's Friday Night Live schedule is a little more compressed. Some key games and some tough decisions about where to go.

Here's our take on tonight:

Read previews of top games and get updated results as we get them at our scoreboard page, which can also accessed through the high school home page.

As always, if you were at a game tonight, let us know how it went here in our comments section.

* * * 

6:56 p.m. We've started at Tonawanda, which is hosting JFK in an extremely pivotal ECIC IV game.

Great crowd here from both schools, nice "Tribe" student section on hand for the home team Warriors, and good energy early on from both teams and both benches. 

With 1:34 left in the first quarter, Tonawanda calls a timeout holding an 11-10 lead.

7 p.m. At the end of the first quarter, Tonawanda leads JFK, 12-10.

7:08 p.m. Jesse Lalka goes to the line with 5:04 left in the second quarter and hits two to put Tonawanda up, 14-13. I have a feeling this matchup between the teams won't go into the 80s like their first contest did. Only natural, I suppose, with the importance of the game.

7:22 p.m. At HALFTIME, Tonawanda leads JFK, 25-24. Nice exchange of threes late in the half for both teams.

UPDATE from TML1000 of the Prep Talk blog at Lew-Port: Lew-Port leads Kenmore West, 15-14, after one quarter after the host Lancers started with a 7-0 lead.

I've got to boogie to Jamestown at Lancaster while video reporter Lauren Mariacher is off to South Buffalo and Canisius at Bishop Timon-St. Jude.

8:02 p.m. Hello from Lancaster. Nice of the JV game to go late for me, because they tipped off literally as I walked into the gym.

8:07 p.m. With 1:24 left in the first quarter, Lancaster coach Conrad Walters calls a timeout. Jamestown leads, 14-11.

UPDATE from Lew-Port: Kenmore West leads, 41-38, after three. It was 29-28 Lew-Port at the half.

UPDATE from Lauren Mariacher in South Buffalo: Canisius leads Bishop Timon-St. Jude, 28-18, with 2:58 left in the first half.

8:11 p.m. At the END OF THE FIRST QUARTER, Jamestown leads at Lancaster, 16-13.

8:15 p.m. Jamestown coach Ben Drake calls a timeout with 5:18 left in the second quarter after two fast-break baskets by Lancaster cut the Jamestown leads to 24-19.

Big play right after the timeout -- Jaysean Paige picked up his second foul, an offensive foul clearing out some space for himself in the post, with 5:05 left in the second and he heads to the bench.

8:25 p.m. At HALFTIME, Jamestown leads Lancaster, 32-27.

Continue reading "Friday Night Live with PrepTalkTV: Jamestown wins at Lancaster, 69-61" »

Tuesday Night Live: Lackawanna routs JFK, 55-34 (with video)

Wednesday's games are in trouble, but tonight's go on. It's a busy night and although the schedule doesn't present any obvious blockbuster matchups, we've found one to our liking.

We're just off Abbott and Martin Roads as Lackawanna hosts JFK in a ECIC IV game that certainly has some storylines going. 

The Steeler has a lot to be smiling about tonight -- not pictured is the Steeler's hammer (nice!). (Keith McShea/Buffalo News) Both teams have gotten a whiff of the small school top 10, with JFK getting a couple of votes this week.

JFK beat visiting Lackawanna, 72-49, on Dec. 22. I'm pretty sure that game was one in which Lackawanna had lineup problems. Most notably, seniors Dondre Alexander and Christian Cheatom have missed games due to suspensions or other issues. But now both are back. With both in the lineup, Lackawanna has a win over Tonawanda, which is the No. 9 small school and is the only school to beat JFK in league play.

7:08 p.m. We've got two minutes counting down on the scoreboard.

It's Coaches vs. Cancer night here and they are taking donations at the door.

Check out our basketball scoreboard through the evening -- and every evening -- for updates on all the action.

7:13 p.m. We're underway. Lackawanna turnover by Alexander followed by a Sean Fox layup for JFK; 2-0 JFK.

Cheatom blocked by Brandon Kacala, which sends JFK off and running -- they miss the break but Ryan Kowal scores while being fouled. 4-0 as he goes to the line with 6:42 left. Free throw is good; JFK, 5-0.

Cheatom turnover on an over and back. JFK turnover.

7:16 p.m. Alexander is fouled and hits the jumper with 5:56 left in the first. Free throw is good; JFK, 5-3.

Three-pointer by Raytrel Finley; Finley steals and finds Cheatom with a great pass but it doesn't go down; Shane Dayley with a nice block on defense; JFK turnover. Tied at 5-5 under five minutes to go in first.

7:20 p.m. Timeout JFK after a nice spurt from Lackawanna. A turnover by JFK was followed by a push by Finley, a handoff to Alexander, who shook a defender and nailed a jumper. Finley stole the inbounds pass and scored to make it 10-5 Lackawanna with 3:45 left in the first.

Kowal down low is blocked by Daley, Alexander comes down with another shake-and-jumper from just inside three-point range. Turnover Lackawanna, turnover JFK. Alexander tries a three and misses.

7:23 p.m. Sean Fox drives, gets a foul call -- although Lackawanna coach Tim Foley (and I) didn't see much -- and the ball falls through; 12-7 with 2:28 left in the first. Free throw is missed. Can I get a "the ball don't lie?"

Cheatom strong drive misses; ball stays with Steelers. Finley's three is in-and-out; offensive over-the-back foul on 6-3 junior Admir Merhizic.

Misses by by both teams followed by a nice fast-break finish by Cheatom.

Some wild action with Lackawanna's Alexander picking a JFK player's pocket, then adding another shake-and-jumper for a 16-7 Lackawanna lead in the final minute.

7:26 p.m. Kowal to the line after another foul on Merhizic; he misses first, makes second; Lackawanna, 16-9 with just over 30 seconds left.

Foul on JFK allows Lackawanna to have the last shot. Alexander misses, out of bounds to JFK with 4.6 seconds left. Daley steals a pass but his buzzer-beater misses. 

7:28 p.m. At the END OF THE FIRST QUARTER, Lackwanna leads JFK, 16-9.

7:29 p.m. JFK over the back on first possession; Lackawanna turnover. 

Christian Boettcher follows a missed three; Lackawanna, 16-11.

Nice kickout pass from Daley to Alexander, who nails a three for a 19-11 lead. Man, Alexander is on.

7:31 p.m. Ken Minorczyk to the line -- nice pass set him up down low but he was fouled by Cheatom. Misses both with 6:28 left in second.

Turnover Lackawanna by Christian Smith; super-quick Finley nearly steals it back; JFK miss; JFk called for blocking foul. 

Smith scores on a nice pass; Lackawanna up, 21-11. Lackawanna steal and Cheatom sprints to sky for a layup and a 23-11 lead.

7:34 p.m. JFK coach Tony Krupski calls timeout with 5:20 left in the second quarter.

Fans (and maybe some teachers?) pleased to hear the Lackawanna announce that there is no school here tomorrow.

7:36 p.m. Alexander with another killer jumper on a fadeaway at the free throw line as he falls backwards. Lackawanna, 25-11.

Cheatom to the line after some nice ball movement; 4:16 left in second. Hits first. Misses second. Lackawanna, 26-11.

Nice defense by Lackawanna leads to a turnover by JFK on a rebound. Cheatom hits a leaner in the lane; Lackawanna, 28-11, with 3:42 left in second.

7:39 p.m. Sean Fox to the line for JFK with 3:37 left after a foul in transition. Hits both; Lackawanna, 28-13.

Turnover as Cheatom steps on the baseline. Fox hits a jumper for JFK (28-15).

Alexander again with a fadeaway jumper -- while being fouled. Whoa.

Free throw is good but it is waved off on a lane violation. Lackawanna leads, 30-15, with 2:45 left in second.

7:41 p.m. Timeout, Lackawanna.

Pressure forces JFK turnover. Lackawanna miss; Cheatom offensive foul.

Was doing some iPhone-ing of a great finish for Lackawanna which you'll see later:

Cheatom with a fast-break putback; Alexander with a great dish to Christian Smith for another basket; and, following a make by JFK, Lackawanna is off and running and who else would take the last shot? Alexander speeds to the lane, jumps, hangs, shoots, ball rolls around rim, falls in, buzzer sounds.

Here's the video of the last three baskets of the half (and don't ask me why Lackawanna's gym looks yellow -- it did last year on my videos):

What a half for Alexander. I have to get the stats. Tremendous performance by the senior and the rest of the Steelers. 

7:44 p.m. At HALFTIME, Lackawanna leads JFK, 36-17.

Alexander had 18 points in the first half. Whoa.

7:58 p.m. Second half is under way after some running around by me to get that point total.

JFK comes out and Brandon Kacala scores to get Bear fans fired up; soon after Alexander drives and dishes to Smith for a 38-19 lead.

Alexander runs a very pretty break, feeding Cheatom with a bounce pass in the lane (40-19).

JFK miss; Cheatom dishes to Christian Smith for a fast-break basket (42-19).

JFK miss, JFK foul with 5:40 left in third; Lackawanna turnover with 5:24 left.

8:03 p.m. JFK's Kowal scores inside; foul Lackawanna; Kacala to the line after a foul on Daley with 4:09 left in third. Hits first; misses second; Lackawanna, 42-22.

8:05 p.m. JFK miss; Cheatom skies around a defender attempting to take a charge and scores a layup for a 44-22 Lackawanna lead and Steelers coach Tim Foley calls a timeout.

8:07 p.m. Missed jumper by JFK -- there have been a lot of those tonight -- followed by Alexander losing the handle and then jumping on the ball to call a timeout with 2:39 left in the third.

Sidenote: Great job by the Steeler mascot -- I love that he (she?) actually has a hammer to go with the outfit. Also, the Steeler has been fully incorporated into the Lackawanna cheerleading team's routines, getting lifted up in the air and everything. Fun stuff.

8:09 p.m. Steelers come otut of the timeout wit the sign of a good team -- running a nice play as Alexander drives and dishes to Merhizic, who scores in the lane for a 46-22 lead for the Steelers.

Double foul with 2:06 left in third, Steeler ball. Offensive foul on Lackawanna.

JFK airball three. Alexander pull-up in lane spins out, Steelers get ball back but a curious three-second call is made. JFK miss. Cheatom scores baseline from Daley. JFK misses at the buzzer.

8:13 p.m. At the END OF THE THIRD QUARTER, Lackawanna leads JFK, 48-22.

Obviously a very impressive performance by the Steelers. Their pressure defense seems to have forced some poor shooting along with several turnovers; meanwhile, Alexander has been excellent.

8:14 p.m. Christian Boettcher scores for JFK to start this quarter as well (48-24). Daley travel on a three-point attempt. Miss three by JFK. Alexander miss baseline, followed by a JFK fast-break in which Boettcher went up for a shot and was fouled by a hustling-back Cheatom. Was a clean foul but Boettcher went down hard; seems like a hand or wrist deal but he's up on his own power.

He's replaced by Ryan Kowal at the line, who makes one (48-25) with 6:55 left.

Alexander miss, Daley miss, Cheatom over the back with 6:37 left. JFK to the line for one-and-one by Kowal: Makes first, misses second (48-26).

Alexander too quick for his own good and turns it over; JFK's Sean Fox fast breaks and is fouled. He hits first, misses second with 6:21 left (48-27).

8:19 p.m. Finley drives and dishes to Daley, who hands off to Cheatom, who is fouled on a drive with 6:06 left. First is good, second is good; Lackawanna, 50-27.

Kowal is fouled on a fast-break, gives Finley a bump after the play and it is well addressed by the official. No technical, but he gave him a talking to at the line. Kowal misses first, misses second with 5:40 left.

8:22 p.m. Lackawanna coach Foley calls timeout with 5:20 left and is frustrated with Alexander, who is doing too much dribbling. Lackawanna 50, JFK 27.

8:24 p.m. Ben Zaccagnino with a putback for JFK (50-29). Daley with a miss; Lackawanna ball.

Another Lackawanna miss and Daley is fouled out on a call Lackawanna nor I saw. Sean Fox to the line for JFK with 4:17 left; misses first, misses second, rebound out of bounds to JFK.

JFK miss; foul on Christian Smith and he has fouled out with 4:10 left. JFK is in the double bonus (more than 10 fouls on Lackawanna); JFK has committed four fouls. Zaccagnino to the line: misses first, makes second (50-30).

Alexander tripped with 4:00 left. Fox steals and lays it in for a 50-32 game. Nice dish by Alexander to Cheatom but his foot is on the baseline. Donald Schenk to the line after being fouled on a drive with 3:33 left. Misses first, misses second. 

8:30 p.m. Alexander pump fakes a defender and draws an foul that's not called. JFK turnover. Lackawanna coach Foley calls a timeout with 3:00 left and the Steelers up, 50-32.

8:32 p.m. Turnover by Cheatom bringing the ball upcourt.

Alexander does a very nice job to rip the ball from Fox then go in for a layup while being fouled by Fox with 2:33 left. Free throw is good; Lackawanna, 53-32.

8:34 p.m. Alexander just got taken out of the game -- he got a little applause from the small crowd here but he deserved some more.

Merhizic scores on a fast-break for Lackawanna (55-32); under 1:30.

James Quinn layup for JFK (55-34). Turnover Lackawanna; Nick Sikora to the line with 42.7 seconds left for JFK, misses both.

8:37 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Lackawanna 55, JFK 34.

Time for interviews and stats; box score will be up at our basketball scoreboard as soon as I can type it up.

Post-game show:

* * *

Check out that handy dandy basketball scoreboard for a ton of results from a very busy night and many recaps to peruse.

Biggest result to me -- other than the Lackawanna game (patting myself on the back for coming here) -- is Hutch-Tech outscoring Riverside on the road. Great result for Tech as Riverside continues to struggle. ... Orchard Park takes Will North to OT on the road. ... Good to see a young Nichols team growing up with its first league win. ... Barker gave Newfane a good fight. ... Jamestown's win a pretty expected one.

---Keith McShea

Class of 2010 updates & tidbits: Two to the SEC

Our Class of 2010 college list has been updated with a ton of names, including a big bump to the list in girls volleyball (thanks to the coaches Pierce of Eden for that).

Here are some links and some info we received with the updates and that we came across in doing some research ...

* There are two big-time athletes to the big-time Southeastern Conference. Not bad, Western New York.

Kenmore West swimmer Marissa Dressel is swimming her way to Alabama while Eden volleyball standout Stacey Smith concluded a competitive recruiting process with a trip to Georgia.

* Nardin soccer goalie Tori Christ is headed to Ithaca's East Hill and Collegetown as she attends Cornell.

* Connolly Cup winner Zack Sopak of Southwestern will keep playing for coach Sirianni -- that's  Washington & Jefferson coach Mike Sirianni, the older brother of Trojans coach Jay Sirianni. See Sopak's signing in a Jamestown Post-Journal story and photo.

* Another of Eden's fab four seniors in volleyball, Katie Eschner, is headed to Roberts Wesleyan in suburban Rochester. 

* Check out the bios of Willie Ruiz of Canisius and Matt Fox of Maple Grove, who are both playing football at Robert Morris.

* Read up on five locals heading to Gannon football: Ian Kennedy, Bishop Timon-St. Jude; Keith Bykowski and Matthew Hornung, Cheektowaga; Ryan Sweet, East Aurora and Jeff Bellanca, St. Joe's (also baseball).

* Amanda Serafini of Frontier softball is off to Davis & Elkins in Elkins, W. Va. 

* Kyle McLain of Canisius will play baseball at Washington & Jefferson, which is ranked in the Division III top 25. 

* Jamie Nash of JFK will play softball atop South Hill with the Ithaca College Bombers, ranked in the Division III national top 25. 

Have an update to the list or information like is posted here? See the top of the college list page for guildelines and e-mail me. 

---Keith McShea

More from cross country

I wrote a story about this season's proliferation of eighth-graders succeeding in girls cross country for today's Scholastic Spotlight.

Here are some additional notes on the eighth-graders as well as notes on all sorts of cross country topics:

* * *

Among the top 18 at the 15-team Bemus Point Invitational were more eighth graders (five) than seniors (four).

Caroline Benson of Maple Grove won the race, while two other fellow eighth-graders were teammates … Emma Verdonik (fifth) and Abby Sirwatka (18th). Falconer's Kirsten Holmberg was third and Fredonia's Micaela Tramuta was 11th.

* * *

Kiki Dy is an accomplished swimmer who came to the Newfane program from field hockey, while Sarah Ziemba and twins Kelly and Kate Bocknewetch all excelled in modified track and cross country last year.

Dy "fell into our lap," said Newfane coach Mike Heitzenrater. "Because of the way our league is run in swimming, with the girls competing in the winter, she could never qualify for states. So she said, "I want to do cross country and get to the states.' "

The youngsters have meshed well with senior Bethany Dewey and juniors Erin Hannah and Amy Lanighan.

It may have helped that Newfane had a significant amount of spots to fill in its lineup after graduating much of its team last year.

Continue reading "More from cross country " »

Raffle ticket tour stop planned for Thursday at Depew (and hopefully Lancaster too)

Thursday will mark the second and possibly final stop of my informal (and obviously brief!) raffle ticket tour stop as I sell chances that will benefit the Tom Borrelli Memorial Scholarship Fund (check this link for the details and great prizes).

I have a late afternoon meeting, but I'm hoping to at least get to the Depew end of the Depew-Lancaster Boys & Girls Club summer league playoffs in boys basketball.

At the Depew (60 Preston St.) location, Bishop Timon-St. Jude is playing Depew at 6 p.m., followed by Maryvale against Lancaster at 7.

At the Lancaster (5440 Broadway St.) location, Pioneer meets West Seneca West at 6 p.m. followed by Clarence and JFK at 7.

Hopefully I'll be at Depew for the end of the first game and the beginning of the second with enough time to zip down the street for the second game at Lancaster -- or maybe I'll zip back and forth :-). I get to check out some hoops and raise money for a great cause.

It was great to get to Sweet Home last week on my first stop of the tour, where several coaches and fans were gracious enough to buy the $5 raffle tickets.

The raffle drawing is Sunday, July 19. If you'd like to buy tickets, email me at I'll set aside tickets for you and give you the information on where to send a check. Thanks.

---Keith McShea


About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

@KeithMcSheaBN |